An Unfinished Picnic Table: The Ultimate DIY Project to Upgrade Your Outdoor Space

Kind Reader, have you ever been to a park or a backyard BBQ and had to sit on the ground because there were no available seats? It’s quite frustrating, isn’t it? Well, fear not, for today we will be discussing the crucial element of outdoor furniture that is the unfinished picnic table. Whether you purchased one and need to finish it yourself or are considering buying one, an unfinished picnic table is a fantastic addition to any outdoor gathering or event. Let’s dive in and explore the benefits of having an unfinished picnic table.

Read Fast Content show

The Benefits of Buying an Unfinished Picnic Table

unfinished-picnic-table,Unfinished Picnic Table,thqunfinishedpicnictable

If you’re in the market for a new picnic table for your backyard, you might be considering buying an unfinished one instead of a pre-finished one. While pre-finished picnic tables certainly have their benefits, there are also some advantages to buying an unfinished one.

Cost-Effective Option

One of the biggest advantages of buying an unfinished picnic table is cost. An unfinished table is often much cheaper than a pre-finished one, which can be a real advantage if you’re on a tight budget. Plus, you can save money by finishing the table yourself instead of paying for pre-finished.


When you buy an unfinished picnic table, you have the ability to customize it to your personal taste. You can choose the type of stain or paint you want to use, which allows you to match your new table to your existing décor or other outdoor furnishings. With an unfinished table, you can also add any personal touches you want, such as carved designs or painted images, to make it truly one-of-a-kind.

The Benefits of Buying An Unfinished Picnic Table

unfinished-picnic-table,Unfinished Picnic Table Benefits,thqUnfinishedPicnicTableBenefits

While most people prefer to buy pre-finished picnic tables, buying unfinished ones can actually have its advantages. In this section, we’ll discuss some of the benefits of purchasing an unfinished picnic table.


One big advantage of purchasing an unfinished picnic table is its cost. Buying unfinished furniture is typically cheaper than pre-finished ones, as it’s not yet completed. If you’re on a budget but you still want to have a picnic table, you can buy an unfinished one and customize it yourself. The best part is that you can save on labor costs as you’re the one who’s going to paint or stain it.


Another benefit of buying an unfinished picnic table is that it’s highly customizable. You get to choose the color, the type of paint, or the type of stain to apply. You can also choose the finish, whether you want it glossy or matte. By customizing your own table, it’ll have your personal touch which makes it unique and special.

No Important Information
1 The picnic table is unfinished
2 It is missing a few screws and may be unstable
3 The wood used is untreated and may rot over time if left outside
4 The table may need sanding or varnishing to protect it from the elements
5 Assembly instructions may be available online or through the retailer
6 It is important to use caution and follow safety guidelines when assembling the table

How to Finish an Unfinished Picnic Table

unfinished-picnic-table,How to Finish an Unfinished Picnic Table,thqHowtoFinishanUnfinishedPicnicTable

Finishing an unfinished picnic table requires specific steps to ensure that the wood is protected from outdoor elements. First, you need to assess the current condition of the table. If it has been left untreated for a long time, it may require sanding to remove rough surfaces and any existing coatings. For example, you can use a belt sander or random orbital sander to remove stain or paint.

Choosing the Right Finish

The next step is to select the appropriate finish for your picnic table. There are two primary types of finishes: penetrating and film-forming. Penetrating finishes sink into the wood, protecting it from the inside out. Film-forming finishes create a protective layer on top of the wood. While film finishes provide more protection against moisture and UV rays, they require more maintenance.

Applying the Finish

Before applying the finish, make sure the surface of the table is clean and dry. Apply the finish in thin layers using a clean brush or cloth, allowing each layer to dry completely before applying the next one. Most finishes require multiple layers to provide adequate protection. It’s best to work in a space with good ventilation to minimize exposure to harmful fumes.

No Penetrating Finishes Film-Forming Finishes
1 Oils – Linseed, Tung, Danish, Teak, and Walnut Urethane
2 Water-repelling Preservatives Varnish
3 Wax Acrylic

Caring for Your Finished Table

After finishing your picnic table, proper care is essential to ensure that it lasts for years. Avoid placing hot items directly on the surface, which can damage the finish. Clean up any spills immediately, and use a soft cloth or sponge to wipe the table clean. Avoid using abrasive cleaners, which can scratch the finish. Finally, cover the table when it’s not in use to protect it from weather elements.

How to Finish an Unfinished Picnic Table?

unfinished-picnic-table,How to Finish an Unfinished Picnic Table?,thqhowtofinishanunfinishedpicnictable

Finishing an unfinished picnic table not only enhances the beauty of the table but also adds protection to it. Follow the steps below to finish your unfinished picnic table:


Sanding the table is the first step in finishing an unfinished picnic table. It helps to smoothen out the rough surface of the wood and remove splinters. Before sanding, make sure to dust off the table with a cloth to remove any debris.

Staining or Painting

The next step is to stain or paint the picnic table. Staining is a better option if you want to add protection to the table while maintaining the natural wood look. Alternatively, you can paint the table with an exterior paint, which not only adds color to the table but also provides protection.

Before staining or painting, make sure to apply wood conditioner to the table. This will help the table absorb the stain or paint evenly and prevent blotching. Apply the first coat, let it dry for a few hours or as per manufacturer instruction before applying the second coat.


The final step in finishing an unfinished picnic table is sealing it. Sealing protects the table from moisture and weather changes. You can use an exterior polyurethane or varnish to seal the table. Apply two coats of sealer to the table letting each coat dry as per manufacturer instruction.

Note: Make sure to let the table dry completely before use.

LSI Keywords:

  • finishing an unfinished picnic table
  • sanding an unfinished picnic table
  • staining an unfinished picnic table
No Website Subtitle
1 www.bobvila.com How to Finish an Outdoor Picnic Table: Tips and Instructions for Sealing
2 www.homedepot.com How to Finish a Porch Table
3 www.doityourself.com How to Paint and Stain Outdoor Wood Furniture
4 www.diynetwork.com How to Stain a Wooden Deck
5 www.popularmechanics.com How to Repair Wooden Furniture Surfaces
6 www.familyhandyman.com Furniture Refinishing: How to Refinish Furniture
7 www.instructables.com How to Finish Wood Furniture for Use Outdoors
8 www.bhg.com How to Refurbish Patio Furniture
9 www.thesprucecrafts.com How to Stain Wood Naturally With Coffee
10 www.wikihow.com 3 Ways to Refinish a Wood Table

Staining an Unfinished Picnic Table

unfinished-picnic-table,Staining an Unfinished Picnic Table,thqStaininganUnfinishedPicnicTable

Staining an unfinished picnic table is essential to improve the look of the table and protect it against the elements. A quality stain will help to prevent fading, cracking, and warping caused by exposure to sun and rain. There are two types of stains; water-based and oil-based. Water-based stains are more eco-friendly, have a faster drying time and are easy to use as they can be cleaned up with soap and water. Oil-based stains are more durable and longer-lasting, providing better protection against the sun and rain. However, they can be difficult to use and clean up requires solvents.

Water-Based Stains for Unfinished Picnic Table

Water-based stains are perfect for finishing an unfinished picnic table as they offer a wide range of colors and are eco-friendly. They dry faster than oil-based stains, which makes them ideal for people who want a quick finish. One disadvantage of water-based stains is that they do not penetrate as deep as oil-based stains, which means they may require more coats to protect the picnic table.

Oil-Based Stains for Unfinished Picnic Table

Oil-based stains are a popular choice for finishing an unfinished picnic table because they offer great protection against the elements. They penetrate deeper into the wood than water-based stains, which makes them last longer. They are available in a range of colors and provide a glossy finish. Oil-based stains are a bit more difficult to work with, as they can be messy and require solvents for clean-up, but provide a better, longer lasting finish compared to water-based stains.

Sealing an Unfinished Picnic Table

unfinished-picnic-table,Sealing an Unfinished Picnic Table,thqSealinganUnfinishedPicnicTable

Sealing an unfinished picnic table is key to maintaining its appearance and preventing damage caused by the elements. The most popular types of sealants used for picnic tables are polyurethane, sealers with UV protection, and linseed oil. These sealants protect the picnic table from moisture and sunlight and provide a clear finish. Before applying a sealant, make sure the table is completely dry and free of dust and debris. A sealant can be applied with a brush or sprayer, depending on the desired look and finish. It is always best to apply multiple thin coats rather than one thick coat, as this will prevent unevenness and dripping.


Polyurethane sealant is a popular choice for sealing an unfinished picnic table because it is tough and scratch-resistant. It comes in a clear or tinted finish and is easy to apply. One disadvantage of polyurethane sealant is that it can yellow over time, especially if it is exposed to sunlight.

Sealers with UV Protection

Some sealants have UV protection, which makes them ideal for an unfinished picnic table that will be exposed to direct sunlight. The sealant protects the table from UV rays and prevents it from fading or turning gray. Sealers with UV protection have a milky white finish when applied but dry clear.

Linseed Oil

Linseed oil is a natural product obtained from flax seeds. It is eco-friendly, provides excellent protection, and gives the table a warm, natural finish. Linseed oil penetrates deep into the wood, providing a long-lasting finish. However, it takes a long time to dry, between 24 to 72 hours, and can darken the color of the wood.

How to Finish an Unfinished Picnic Table

unfinished-picnic-table,Finished Wooden Picnic Table,thqFinishedWoodenPicnicTable

Finishing an unfinished picnic table can be a fun and rewarding DIY project. It involves adding a protective coat to the wood to make it more durable, weather-resistant, and aesthetically pleasing. Below are some steps you can follow to finish your picnic table:

Clean the Surface

Before starting the finishing process, ensure the table’s surface is clean and free of dust and debris. Use a soft-bristled brush or a cloth to sweep off any debris on the wood. Then, use a wood cleaner and a scrub brush to remove any dirt or stains on the table’s surface. Let it dry completely before proceeding.

Sand the Wood

To achieve a smooth finish, sand the wood’s surface with sandpaper using a fine grit sandpaper. Depending on the roughness of the unfinished wood, you might start with a coarser grit and proceed to a finer one to finish off. Sanding off roughness and splinters before applying the finishing coat is necessary, else it will be visible through the finish.

Choose a Finish

There are several finish options for unfinished wood: varnish, lacquer, shellac, or polyurethane. Pick one that suits your preference and needs, whether it is to protect it from the elements or just to add a natural gleam. Read the instructions on the product to determine if application requires a brush, spray, or cloth to apply. A brush is the most commonly used method.

Apply Finish

Apply the finish coat evenly to the entire surface of the wood using a brush, lint-free cloth, or spray gun until it’s thoroughly coated. Ensure that you wear protective gloves and use a well-ventilated area, as these products emit fumes. Wait for the first coat to dry completely according to the finish’s instructions before adding a second coat, which may be necessary for more prolonged protection. Always apply thin and even coats for a smooth finish.

Dry and Curing

Leave your picnic table to dry in a clean and dry location for the specified amount of time indicated on the finish product. It takes roughly 24 hours to dry and more than a week to cure. After it’s cured, you may use it for outdoor barbecues, meals, or general relaxation.

Regular Maintenance

Avoid leaving your picnic table to the mercy of the elements, no matter how coated and protected the wood is. There are chances of damage and decay, leaving the wood exposed. Regularly clean your picnic table using a cleaning agent, remove any debris, and ensure it’s dry before applying a fresh coat to protect the wood and maintain its natural glory.

How to Maintain Your Unfinished Picnic Table

unfinished-picnic-table,How to Maintain Your Unfinished Picnic Table,thqpicnictableunfinished

Although unfinished picnic tables are made of sturdy and durable materials, they still require maintenance to ensure their longevity. Here are some tips on how you can maintain your unfinished picnic table:

1. Sand the Surface

Before applying any kind of finish, it is important to sand the surface of your unfinished picnic table. This will help smooth out any rough areas and remove any splinters. Sanding also helps the surface absorb the finish better.

2. Apply a Weather-Resistant Finish

Unfinished picnic tables are vulnerable to weather damage, such as fading, cracking, and warping. Applying a weather-resistant finish will help protect it from the elements. There are many types of finishes available, such as polyurethane, sealant, and varnish.

3. Clean the Table Regularly

Regular cleaning will help prevent the buildup of dirt, grime, and debris, which can damage the surface of your unfinished picnic table. Use a mild detergent and water to clean the table, then rinse thoroughly with water. Avoid using abrasive cleaners or cleaning products that contain harsh chemicals.

4. Store Your Table Properly

If you plan on storing your unfinished picnic table for an extended period of time, it is important to do so properly. Store it in a dry, well-ventilated area to prevent moisture buildup, which can cause warping and cracking. Cover the table with a durable and breathable cover to protect it from dust and debris.

No LSI Keywords
1 weather-resistant finish
2 polyurethane
3 sealant
4 varnish
5 mild detergent
6 warping
7 cracking
8 moisture buildup
9 breathable cover
10 dry storage

Unfinished Picnic Table FAQ

Here are some frequently asked questions about unfinished picnic table and their answers to help you with your concerns or questions.

1. What is an unfinished picnic table?

An unfinished picnic table is a table made of wood or other materials that has not yet been stained or painted. It has a natural and raw appearance.

2. Why is the picnic table unfinished?

The table may be unfinished because it’s a DIY project or it’s been purchased as an unfinished item. It may also be for the customer to personalize their picnic table.

3. Can I use an unfinished picnic table outside?

Yes, you can use an unfinished picnic table outside, but it’s important to treat the wood with a sealant or stain to protect it from weather damage.

4. Do I need to sand the picnic table before painting or staining it?

Yes, it’s recommended to sand the table using a coarse sandpaper to get rid of rough edges and then a finer grit sandpaper to make the surface smooth before applying paint or stain.

5. Can I leave an unfinished picnic table exposed to sunlight?

You can, but it’s not advisable as the UV rays can damage the surface of the wood, causing it to peel or crack over time.

6. What should I use to seal the wood?

You can use a polyurethane sealer, varnish, or oil-based paint to seal the wood and protect it from moisture damage.

7. Can I paint or stain the picnic table myself?

Yes, you can paint or stain the table yourself, but it’s best to follow the instructions of the particular product carefully.

8. Does an unfinished picnic table require maintenance?

Yes, an unfinished picnic table does require regular maintenance to protect it from the elements and keep it looking good.

9. How often should I maintain the table?

You should maintain the table as needed. Depending on the weather conditions and use, this could be once or twice a year.

10. What tools do I need to maintain an unfinished picnic table?

You will need sandpaper, a brush or rag, and the sealer or stain or paint of your choice.

11. Can I use a pressure washer to clean the table?

It’s not recommended to use a pressure washer as it can damage the wood and cause it to split or crack.

12. What is the best time to maintain the table?

The best time to maintain the table is during the dry season when there’s no rain or moisture.

13. Does an unfinished picnic table attract insects?

Yes, unfinished wood is an attractive place for insects such as termites and ants. Treating the wood with a sealant will prevent this.

14. Can I cover the table with a tarp during rain?

You can, but it’s suggested to treat the wood with a sealant to prevent damage from moisture.

15. How long does it take to dry after painting or staining?

It depends on the product used, but it usually takes 24 hours to dry completely.

16. Can I leave an unfinished picnic table in the sun?

You can, but it’s not advisable to do so for long periods, especially without a sealant as it can lead to long-term negative impacts to the wood.

17. Is it safe to eat on an unfinished picnic table?

Yes, it’s safe to eat on an unfinished picnic table if the wood is treated with a sealant or specific food-grade product and away from chemicals, insects, or pets.

18. Can I remove stains from an unfinished picnic table?

Yes, you can remove stains by sanding the surface and applying a fresh coat of your chosen product.

19. Can I move an unfinished picnic table around?

Yes, you can. However, ensure it’s stable and not wobbly when moving the table around.

20. How long should I wait before using the table after staining or painting?

You should wait at least 24 hours before using the table.

21. Can I use a sprayer to apply the stain or paint?

Yes, using a sprayer can be a quicker way to apply the product, but ensure to cover or protect areas that are not meant to be stained or painted.

22. Can I purchase an unfinished picnic table that is already assembled?

Some retailers may offer that service, but check with the provided information before making an order or inquiring in person.

23. Should I apply a primer before applying the paint?

Yes, it’s recommended to apply a primer before painting to allow for a uniform color and prevent soaking into the wood.

24. Should I use a brush or roller to apply the sealer or stain?

You can use either, but a brush may be better as it provides better coverage and easier to reach corners or edges.

25. Can I store an unfinished picnic table outside?

You can, but it’s best to store it under a shelter or cover to prevent it from getting further unfinished and damaged more than you intended.

If you’re looking for tips on how to make a great picnic table, check out this unfinished picnic table guide that provides the measurements and materials needed for the project.

Until Next Time

Kind Reader, the sun is setting on our unfinished picnic table. Although it may not be complete at this moment, it reminds us that sometimes the process is just as important as the end result. We hope you have enjoyed reading about our journey and that you will revisit us when we have more stories to share. Take care and enjoy the outdoors!

Recommendation Video : The Mystery of the Unfinished Picnic Table Unveiled

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button